Variations Vol I by Jesse Woolston

Variations Vol I

Jesse Woolston
Variations Vol I (self-released; DL)

This download-only EP by New Zealand composer Jesse Woolston recently came to my attention, as it’s ambient textures stand out, and it’s a rather perfect introduction to a relatively new artist who only has one other recording floating out there on Vènka Industries. Woolston is also an incredible motion-capture artist, which I’d imagine would make for a fantastic a/v presentation, The six pieces here are, on average, about three minutes in length and pack quite an atmospheric moodiness. By incorporating gentle percussion, sparse piano keys and a hive-like buzz Piano Form II is a wonderland that crosses an abstract illbient with shoegaze and playful experimental chords. It reminds me, but only peripherally, of some broken piano work by Kenneth Kirschner. The tone deepens on What Once Was, as it takes its paces and references any random great cinematic thriller. It’s one of those beautifully sombre dirges.

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On The Meeting Woolston has more of an open air flow to the cavorting synths that sounds like traveling in those pressurized tubes ala Logan’s Run, heck, isn’t Elon Musk creating these for real? He uses a layer of strings and towards the end more of a dark approach, though the track ends too abruptly, it needs much more time and room to breathe. Psychically that is probably a good thing.  The final two tracks (Entering the Prism and Among the living) at just over two minutes, sort of merge into each other. They blend sci-fi ambience with some chordal distortion, and the end leaves you abruptly once again, which leads me to believe that you are taking in only a glimpse of what’s yet to come from this artist….part of that premise was set while visiting his website which appears to be private. Hey, a lil’ mystery won’t kill you…or will it?

In the end, what you do get here is a nice sampler earful that leaves you wanting more.

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